Ukraine must win its war with Russia before winter to prevent its neighbour from bedding in long term, presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said Tuesday, July 19.

“It is very important for us not to enter into the winter. After winter, when the Russians will have more time to get a footing, it will certainly be more difficult. It is very important for us not to give them this possibility,” Yermak told Ukrainian weekly Novoye Vremya.

He repeated Kyiv’s view that Ukraine’s Western allies should supply it with more arms, and said he was counting on multibillion-dollar pledges of US aid in the form of weaponry and economic support.

The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act package signed in May by US President Joe Biden to expedite that support is due to come fully into operation from next month.

“Our objective is victory,” said Yermak.

He said any ongoing talks with Russia revolved simply around how to export Ukrainian grain from blockaded ports — not how to end the conflict after Russia invaded in February.

“These negotiations are taking place at military and foreign affairs ministry level… with UN mediation,” Yermak said.

“I’m in touch with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, I do not communicate with the Russians,” he stressed.

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